Leucocarpa, also called as Leucolea. This is an Olives variety characterized by small fruits which, during ripening, take on an ivory-white color.
Mainly widespread in the regions of southern Italy, with a strong presence in Calabria, it was probably introduced during Magna Graecia’s colonization (Great Greece).
The white olive is just one of hundreds of varieties of the European olive (Olea europaea
) found from the Mediterranean all the way to the Arabian Peninsula.
One of its botanical subclassifications is Leucocarpa
, from the Greek leukos
(white) and karpos
(flesh or pulp). White olives also grow in Italy, Morocco, Libya, Greece and Portugal, where they often go by local names.
Researchers who have studied the white olive’s genetics say that its unique color, or lack thereof, is simply a quirk of nature.